September 1, 2018

Link: Love Notes to Newton ☍

I checked this documentary out a couple of weeks ago—for those who don’t know, the Newton was a very early personal digital assistant made by Apple in the 1990s. While it was gaining some traction, smaller and cheaper devices became popular, and it was killed upon the return of Steve Jobs to the company. To this day, there’s a small, but passionate group still using products in the Newton family and doing new things with them because it was a truly special platform, unlike anything else at that time or after. Even if you’ll never see one in real life, this documentary is a fascinating look at an important part of Apple’s history.

August 27, 2018

Link: Don’t Review Betas ☍

The Washington Post’s Geoffrey Fowler reviews the new Screen Time features on iOS 12. Despite mentioning that it’s not released yet, he treats it like a finished product. While I wholeheartedly agree that it’s lacking from a parental controls standpoint, it is an initial release and is mostly designed to curtail and analyze usage.

Ultimately, despite Apple and other companies offering public betas, you should never review a beta as a finished product. Even then, you probably shouldn’t double down when people comment on that.

August 25, 2018

Link: The Verge Just Won’t Let It Go ☍

Chaim Gartenberg reinforces the hill that The Verge wants to die on:

Now, there are some who might argue that the dongle only tops the chart because of the fact that Apple made the still-frustrating decision to remove an industry-wide standard port from its devices, or because the adapter is easily lost or prone to breaking. But I will say that those people are clearly just stumping for their fallen favorite accessories like the Lighting cable or wired EarPod headphones, and have yet to realize the courageous elegance that the dongle can bring to their lives.

I generally like a lot of things posted on The Verge, be it pro- or anti-Apple. They generally do a good job, but the site started complaining about this before the iPhone 7, and it comes up every now and then, despite the general public seeming to have adapted for both iPhones and many Android phones. Bluetooth headphones can be found for relatively low prices and Apple even includes an adapter and Lightning-equipped EarPods in the box. If you’re going to ditch a port, those inclusions are more than reasonable.

The report, which was taken from 9to5Mac and originally Ceros (which is worth a read) tends to be more factual and analytical, rather than the, “But the dongles!” rhetoric that one can expect from The Verge.

August 21, 2018

Link: Apple Uninvents Time Travel ☍

Joe Cieplinski had the right call on this:

Me, back in April 2016: “Get rid of Time Travel. It’s a gimmick, and I activate it accidentally more often than not.”

Today, on AppleInsider: RIP Time Travel – A seldom-used Apple Watch feature set to disappear with watchOS 5

Link: SIM Hijacking to Steal Instagram ☍

Motherboard’s Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai (via Adam Tinworth):

Want to make some extra money? Start a business hacking Instagram accounts:

In the buzzing underground market for stolen social media and gaming handles, a short, unique username can go for between $500 and $5,000, according to people involved in the trade and a review of listings on a popular marketplace. Several hackers involved in the market claimed that the Instagram account @t, for example, recently sold for around $40,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Besides gaining access for top-notch Instagram handles to re-sell, the same methods also allow access to all sorts of things:

First, criminals call a cell phone carrier’s tech support number pretending to be their target. They explain to the company’s employee that they “lost” their SIM card, requesting their phone number be transferred, or ported, to a new SIM card that the hackers themselves already own. With a bit of social engineering—perhaps by providing the victim’s Social Security Number or home address (which is often available from one of the many data breaches that have happened in the last few years)—the criminals convince the employee that they really are who they claim to be, at which point the employee ports the phone number to the new SIM card.

This allows access to many things that allows password resets and two-factor authentication via SMS. I’d recommend removing your phone number from things it doesn’t need to be associated with and keeping your fingers-crossed that your carrier has your back. The read is lengthy, but excellent.